I don’t even know where to begin! What’s more fun then taking on a new challenge or adventure?!
I will begin with an expression of gratitude for the opportunity to take on a new challenge being healthier through diet and exercise.
Then there’s always the challenge of my health and the risk of flare ups if I’m not mindful of the challenges I take on. Always, be mindful of how you feel and be smart and know when to stop. It is not weakness, it is necessity.
In the past few years I began trail running and find it extremely peaceful. But, don’t let that fool you, you have to be on your game watching your footing while absorbing the beauty that surrounds you.
One of my goals for 2018, in addition to enjoying running more trails, was to run a trail race. I decided go big or go home apparently! I understood taking on this goal it would be a challenging course – that was an understatement for me!
I didn’t take pictures while on the course because I wanted to enjoy the beauty that surrounded me. The terrain, between the mud and hills, was very challenging. Most of the elevation was extremely difficult, for me , but would not be for more experienced trail and ultra runners.
Uberendurance Sports hosts a 20 & 40 mile trail race called the Naked Bavarian at Blue Marsh Lake in Leesport, PA. They are a well run race organization keeping costs low while providing challenging, yet fun races, little swag complimented by great volunteers and food.
By the end of the race, I truly exceeded my own personal physical limits, but the high of completing my challenge, while being mindful of my health, was exhilarating!
Fast forward to 2019, I decided I needed to do it again! Why you ask? Because I can! As long as I can keep moving forward, I will keep going. This year proved to be the biggest challenge yet, as it had snowed prior to race day. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I certainly wasn’t going to try to beat my time from the previous year. Snow, mud…and ice! Whoa, what did I get myself into? I did great just moving forward at my own pace (and had not yet fallen thankfully but I did slip a lot!). Stopped at the aid station at mile 10 (the volunteers are amazing!) and was met with – be careful, it’s really messy up there. Did I not mention after the mile 10 aid station, there is quite the climb and descent. Oh, and I’m afraid of heights! Climbing in 2018 was a feat in itself for me, but now to do it in snow, mud and ice. Ugh, do I drop out now?? Nope, just keep moving. Safely of course.
So, off I go, but after I hear from another runner, “hold up, I’ll head out with you”. Thank goodness because at this point I had been running completely alone. I still kept my pace, as did he, but I felt much better knowing there was someone else out there in case I had any issues, like falling off the side of the mountain (well it was a mountain to me, a “hill” to most ultra runners). And although it was not easy by any means and I did slip backwards a few times, I finally decided to take in the view at the top (last year I did not…did I mention FEAR of heights? Wow, what a view! (Nope, I did not get close to the edge)
Trudging along just moving forward and hoping to finish. I was exhausted from the efforts it took to stay on my feet, especially the descent down the other side of the “hill”. After awhile I, along with the other runner close by, decided to walk a bit. Our conversation got personal about tragedies, challenges and struggles. Depression, drugs, ptsd, you name it, the conversation flowed and the time passed. Next thing you know, we were nearing the end. Phew! The kind gentleman I shared the last 10 miles with proved to me, once again, that there are many people out there with similar, or more, struggles than I. He’s an ultra runner who’s goal was to finish today. He ever so kindly dropped back behind me to let me finish the race ahead of him, even after I insisted we finish together. We did finish together, and I am forever grateful for sharing the miles.
What are some of your challenges for yourself?
Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful!